Rann-Thanagar War
by Dave Gibbons, Ivan Reis (DC Comics, 2007)

The Rann-Thanagar War is pretty to look at, with action sequences that could be a storyboard for a great movie blockbuster, but all the sound and fury conjured up for this science-fiction extravaganza ultimately signifies nothing.

Billed as part of DC's Countdown to Infinite Crisis event, this massive space war really has little or nothing to do with it. It is a self-contained story (although apparently I would have benefited by reading an Adam Strange miniseries to set the stage) that accomplishes very little despite all the pyrotechnics.

OK, so writer Dave Gibbons did manage to kill off a superfluous character, but the abrupt ending leaves readers hanging and leads into the new Crisis in only the most tenuous manner. Basically, the book sets us up for a massive battle between the planet Rann, defended by Earthman Adam Strange, and the newly dead planet Thanagar, former home to one version of Earth heroes Hawkman and Hawkgirl. A few other space races get involved in oblique ways, including Captain Comet and a pair of terraforming Green Lanterns, but mostly it's just a whole lot of mindless hoopla.

The art by Ivan Reis is the book's saving grace. The action under his pen fairly flies off the pages. But I expected something more substantial from Gibbons, who is still earning well-deserved accolades for his collaboration with Alan Moore on The Watchmen. Unfortunately, this war quickly fizzles.

review by
Tom Knapp

11 August 2007

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